Not much thinking going on at The Thinking Moms’ Revolution

questioning girl

George Orwell introduced the concept of “doublespeak” in his masterpiece 1984.

Doublespeak is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words… It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (e.g., “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” …

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]They believe themselves to be educated though most of them are dumb as rocks.[/pullquote]

The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), a website and Facebook page, is an example of doublespeak. There’s not much thinking going on at The Thinking Moms’ Revolution. Just as websites that include “truth” in the name are generally lying, the The Thinking Moms’ Revolution is actually about feeling, not thinking. The anonymous authors of site “feel” that vaccines cause autism despite the fact that there’s copious scientific evidence proving that they don’t; they “feel” that breastmilk is the elixir of life, despite the fact that in industrialized countries the benefits of breastfeeding are trivial; they “feel” that they are educated despite the fact that most of them are dumb as rocks.

Consider yesterday’s Facebook post about me:

We’ve known for quite a while that Amy Tuteur has gone utterly off the so-called “skeptical” deepend, but this is beyond the pale, even for her:

“Therefore, it is a thousand times more important to promote vaccination than to promote breastfeeding. No mother would refuse to do it if she only understood the benefits and got the proper support. That’s why I propose an immediate overhaul of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to promote vaccination instead of breastfeeding.”

We have no qualms in calling this piece utter bullshit. In today’s era, your child is FAR more likely to be healthy if you breastfeed and don’t vaccinate at all than if you vaccinate on the CDC schedule and don’t breastfeed. Of course, that is an extremely unpopular view at the increasingly corrupt CDC, and while anecdotal evidence abounds, the science to support is currently scant but starting to accrue.
I can’t wait till the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study from Dr. Paul Thomas’s practice is published. He promotes a modified vaccine schedule within his own practice, and among those children who were vaccinated on that schedule there is no autism. However, early analysis is showing that the fully unvaccinated children in his practice are by far the healthiest. — Prof

LOOK BEYOND THE HEADLINES. #parentsdothework

I will give the anonymous Prof credit for one thing. When I challenged her, she did not delete my comments. That’s quite unusual in the world of pseudoscience since the last thing quacks want is for readers to get information that hasn’t been vetted for ideological purity.

Beyond that, the post and subsequent comments are remarkable advertisement for the ignorance of science, statistics and even basic logic that characterizes the site.

TMR was quoting a recent post on The Skeptical OB, Vaccination is far more baby friendly than breastfeeding:

There’s a simple thing that every mother can do to keep her baby as healthy as possible. That’s why we should have a ten step hospital based program to support it.

No, it’s not breastfeeding; it’s vaccination, which saves a thousand times more lives in practice than breastfeeding ever could in theory.”

That blew Prof’s mind even though it is glaringly obvious if you think about it for more the 5 seconds. For most of human existence all babies were breastfed and mortality from infectious diseases was astronomical. The incidence of those disease dropped precipitously when vaccines were introduced.

Prof insists, “In today’s era, your child is FAR more likely to be healthy if you breastfeed and don’t vaccinate at all than if you vaccinate on the CDC schedule and don’t breastfeed.” is pure nonsense. She just made it up to reflect what she “feels.”

1. The scientific evidence shows us the opposite of Prof’s claim. This CDC chart, created prior to the rise of the anti-vax movement, makes the case in spectacular terms.


The baseline 20th Century mortality occurred at a time when nearly all babies were breastfed. Obviously breastfeeding doesn’t have much of a protective effect against these disease. Consider that most mothers in the early 20th Century had survived most of these diseases and therefore had acquired natural immunity. Yet whatever natural immunity they had acquired either could not be transmitted through breastmilk (it passes through the placenta) or was ineffective at preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.

2. No, the observed declines of vaccine preventable diseases did not occur in response to the technology of improved sanitation and clean water.

If sanitation and water purification were responsible for the majority of the decline in deaths we would see the incidence of individual vaccine preventable diseases falling in parallel with each other. But that’s not what we see at all. The incidence of an individual disease declines precipitously in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the vaccine.

3. A TMR reader posted these graphs taken from an anti-vax quack book claiming that the death rate of vaccine preventable diseases began to decline in the US prior to the introduction of vaccines.


Of course the death rate began to decline; antibiotics and better medical care were introduced.

Keep in mind that death rate and incidence, though related, are not the same thing. Vaccination dramatically reduces the incidence of disease, which, not surprisingly reduces the death rate. Better medical care can also reduce the death rate but has little impact on the incidence. Medical care can prevent a child dying from a vaccine preventable disease; the appropriate vaccine can wipe the disease from the population altogether.

Ironically, these graphs also illustrate that breastfeeding played no role in the decline of vaccine preventable diseases. In 1900 nearly all babies were breastfed; by 1970 American breastfeeding rates were less than 25%. The death rates of these disease declined precipitously nearly in parallel with the decline in breastfeeding.

4. Many TMR readers have trouble with elementary logic. People made claims about individual vaccines though we were discussing vaccines in the aggregate. People posted papers that suggest breastfeeding “might” do this or that without realizing that such papers aren’t proof of anything. Someone posted an article from what appears to be a pay for play journal, paid for by an anti-vax organization.

At no point did anyone post any data that showed breastfeeding had any impact on the incidence of or death rates from vaccine preventable diseases.

Indeed, Prof tried desperately to backpedal to cover the fact that she could find even a shred of evidence for her claim.

No one on this thread is discussing a particular scientific point, Amy, therefore there is no need to quote “relevant” studies…

Of course there’s a need to quote scientific studies if you are actually promoting thinking about the topic, but there’s precious little thinking going on at TMR.